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Posts tagged “The Mechanic”

Feature: On the joys of multiple solutions

Charting the puzzle depths of Cosmic Express

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Cosmic Express [official site]. There are many reasons why puzzle games designed by Alan “Draknek” Hazelden sit on top of the form. There’s the puzzles, for one thing. They’re pretty good. They explore seemingly simple rulesets and find in them huge and satisfying challenge, dragging you…

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Feature: Inside the clockwork machine

How Hitman’s Hokkaido level was made

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Hitman [official site]. Hitman developer IO Interactive is really good at making believable environments. Did you ever play Kane and Lynch 2? Seriously, its Shanghai is something to behold, a city of broken pavements, back alleys crusted with air-conditioning units and construction sites littered with cellophane-wrapped…

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Feature: A game deserving of more attention

How Unexplored generates great roguelike dungeons

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Unexplored [Steam page]. “Dungeon crawlers are very much the hero’s journey, where you start off as a nobody and end up as the big hero,” says Joris Dormans, creator of realtime dungeon crawler Unexplored. “Or at least that’s the plan.” Unexplored creates great hero’s journeys. As…

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Feature: No more dice rolls

How SteamWorld Heist brought skill into turn-based tactics

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, SteamWorld Heist [official site]. SteamWorld Heist is a tactics game about boarding procedural spaceships with a squad of desperado robots and grabbing all the swag you can before they’re turned to scrap. It’s also a cross-genre oddity, a turn-based platformer, with presentation and polish that comes…

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Feature: Where we're going, we'll need loads of roads

Why road-building in Cities: Skylines is a pleasure

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Cities: Skylines [official site]. Cities: Skylines is a game about building roads. Its lovely set of road-building tools allow you to scribe beautiful curved boulevards into the gentle slopes and combes of virgin lands, and it has inspired 19-page forum topics entitled Show Us Your Interchanges…

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Feature: New perspectives

How Darkest Dungeon found new horror through its turn-based combat

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Darkest Dungeon [official site]. Darkest Dungeon is an RPG in which four flawed heroes face damnably transcendent terrors as they explore the ancient narrow passages beneath a cursed mansion. Notch by notch, their grasp on sanity slips and their vitality trickles thinner as their torch dims…

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Feature: “Content doesn’t stand in the way of content.”

How Astroneer makes crafting fun

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Astroneer [official site]. Astroneer is a space game about hoovering up alien materials with a magic gun and listening to them plop into your backpack. And in this Astroneer has cracked something very special in crafting and resource management: it’s actually fun. Developer System Era Software…

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Feature: Lock-Skipping

Why Dishonored 2 allows you to skip its finest content

This is The Mechanic. Taking a dive into Dishonored 2 [official site] with Harvey Smith, it marks the first anniversary of the column. Holy heck! I hope you’ve been enjoying it. I want to thank everyone who’s read The Mechanic, and all the amazing designers it has given me the opportunity to speak to. Here’s to many more next year. In the city of Karnaca…

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Feature: They had to make the bullets smart

How Enter the Gungeon brought bullet hell to the dungeon-crawler

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Enter the Gungeon [official site]. Enter the Gungeon’s conception was an idle conversation about what shape a game called Enter the Gungeon would take. And here’s what it led to: 1. It’s a dungeon-crawler in which you shoot guns. 2. You’re entering the Gungeon to find…

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Feature: Play the pattern

How turns make Thumper feel physical

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Thumper [official site]. “When people say they’re injuring their thumbs it’s too bad, but it’s kind of the best compliment you can ever get,” says Thumper’s co-designer and artist, Brian Gibson. “It means their nervous system is on fire when they’re playing.” Thumper is a game…

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Feature: Every Count's Opinion Counts

How Crusader Kings 2 Makes People Out Of Opinions

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Crusader Kings 2 [official site]. Meet Domnall, Earl of Osraige. He’s a pretty affable guy. He’s friends with his neighbouring rulers, and all seems peaceful. But he’s also ambitious and a just little crazy, and he’s about to make a big mess of the Emerald Isle.…

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Feature: And how other RPGs should learn from it

How Little Choices Make Sorcery! Feel Epic

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Sorcery! [official site]. From Warlock of Firetop Mountain on I was pretty much obsessed with the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. Of course I was: they presented richly drawn fantasies in which I could play a part, my imagination spinning on their words and illustrations. (My favourite illustrator?…

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Feature: CUT TO: You reading and enjoying this

How Virginia’s Cinematic Editing Works

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Virginia [official site]. Virginia is a new game from studio Variable State about two FBI agents investigating the disappearance of a child. But its story is less about that mystery than it is about the lines you draw between the fragmentary events, images, locations and characters…

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Feature: Drunken child robots explained

How Grow Home Uses Maths To Generate A Personality

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, colourful procedural climbing game Grow Home [official site]. Put simply, BUD is a box suspended over legs and is held together by springs. In practice, BUD is an ungainly robot child, staggering and tripping his way around a low-poly world. BUD is the star of Ubisoft…

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Feature: We spoke to the developers about jumping

What Makes N++ Different To Other Platformers?

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, N++ [official site]. What makes Metanet’s long-running N series different to other platformers? Each level takes place on a single screen, and that makes it uncommon, but certainly not unique. It focuses on acrobatic avoidance of hazards, but that makes it an elder cousin to Super…

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Feature: Explaining the magic behind the scifi colony sim

How RimWorld Generates Great Stories

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, RimWorld [official site]. Every player will have stories of their RimWorld colonists. Dramas set amid cabin fever, raider attacks, depressing decor, infected limbs, cannibalism and bloodthirsty local fauna. Personal dramas, tales of threat and victory, of small things and large things, tragedy and comedy. This colony-building…

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Feature: Keeping you in the action

How Hyper Light Drifter’s Ammo Recharges Its Combat

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Hyper Light Drifter [official site]. Hyper Light Drifter is a game about exploring mysterious ruins and killing the monsters that inhabit them with ferocity and precision. Whether you favour a slash-slash-shoot, a dash-slash-slash-dash, or any other combination thereof, combat is built on a holy trio of…

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Feature: Glory be

How Doom’s Glory Kills Maintain Momentum

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Doom [official site]. Doom, the new one, has one heck of a sense of forward momentum. It’s a game of aggression and constant movement. You’re the Doom Marine: you move like the wind and your shots are unbroken by the need to reload. At the heart…

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Feature: The terror of the command line

How Typing Heightens Duskers’ Deep-Space Horror

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Duskers [official site]. That atmosphere. That rising tension. That emergent puzzle-solving. That moment in Duskers when deliberate planning turns to hell, and you sit, impotent, as your team of unswerving drones are fried by radiation, pulled into the vacuum of space, or are torn into scrap…

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Feature:

The Secret Behind Invisible, Inc. Is Giving You Loads Of Information

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Invisible, Inc. [official site]. Invisible, Inc.’s defining features aren’t its most obvious, and yet they’re all about making things obvious. This turn-based tactics game about hacking and sneaking through procedurally generated levels thrives on them, because they make you feel like a mastermind, even though your…

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